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Old 10-04-2021, 00:12   #1
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Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

Planning to reseat all brightwork. Looking at my mix matched tiny genoa tracks. Sad that they do not match my alluring bronze Murray winches and all the other salty bronze hardware. Thinking about how handy it was to have a boat with racer-go-fast toe rail on the complete perimeter, not just for trimming sails but also for the child safety net I need to add to the lifelines.
Thinking.... wow, would it be nice to have bronze genoa track on the entire teak rail. ($$$!?) or just aluminum.
I have access to some mill and lathe equipment. And have a nice old drill press near the boat.
I have sources for solid flatbar of silicon bronze (OHH MY GOSH IS THAT EXPENSIVE) and aluminum bronze (expensive) and aluminum (not bad).



1 - Is aluminum bronze suitable for T-track / genoa track? or must one use silicon bronze?


2 - I often saw folks make 1" T-track by screwing 1/8"x1" flat bar to 1/2"x1/2" square bar. Is this acceptable? Would taking the time to mill it make a far stronger or attractive product? I feel like it is worth milling but have never owned a boat with the former.



(Disclaimer: I am 100% a function-over-fashion person. Honest. I care not for aesthetics. But, this classy old boat with her bronze and teak and old curves has made me irrational and foolish)
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Old 10-04-2021, 08:25   #2
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

I get the feeling silicon might be more for casting.
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Old 10-04-2021, 12:54   #3
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

You could always buy un-anodized aluminum T track and get it anodized to almost any color you can think of. Garhauer has their T track anodized for them. I don't know if they can supply 1" track. Ask them.
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:08   #4
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

Thanks, Stromalong for the suggestion. I could and will investigate that as a backup.

Unless bare aluminum i find anondized anything looks scratched and old in a year. I heard bronze plating on aluminum lasts a long while below deck but not above. (per General Brite plating co). Plating stainless would be fine above deck or below (per General Brite plating co). I fear the dragging and scrapping of cars over track would grind it off quick, even more than anodized.
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:11   #5
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

For archival reasons:
Here we see a thread on this website about using bronze for chainplates. but that in tension, not shear+torsion+abuse.
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...tes-42767.html
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:13   #6
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

Here I found this exact topic at the wooden boat forum:


Bronze T-Track source?
It reads "..... 954 (UNS C95400) is a good alloy for the application. An aluminum bronze with a nice pinch of nickel. Very strong, good wear, peerless corrosion resistance.... ~Chuck Hancock


They shaped it on a table saw even.
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:20   #7
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

Load will be a factor. I believe that proper extrusions are hardened; I don't know whether the grade of aluminum that can be milled easily is as strong or as durable. Maybe it could be hardened after milling.

The home-milled bronze above looks pretty salty!
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Old 11-04-2021, 08:34   #8
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

They must do something to it beyond drill holes....Because they all charge an arm and a leg for Aluminum T-Track relative to the cost of rectangular bar.

It is a very unpredictable forces to visualize and look up... the way the car pulls on the track... tensile, vs compression vs torsion etc... Depends on how far from a bolt the car is and the angle. I dont even want to pretend i could look this up. And it is the thin 3mm top of the T doing most the work.
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Old 11-04-2021, 12:46   #9
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

My boat has primarily Spartan bronze hardware and fittings but the 1 1/4” T track is Schaefer clear anodized aluminum. It is attached to my teak toerails so the eye sees the teak, not the T track.
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Old 12-04-2021, 08:16   #10
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

Debating using 3/8x1" or 1/2x1". I will unpack all the cars and find the calipers, but that is a small sample. What is the dimension on ? for worst case scenario extra chunky cars?
Not sure how to predict if one will be better when bending to match the curve of the rail.

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Old 12-04-2021, 08:24   #11
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orion Jim View Post
My boat has primarily Spartan bronze hardware and fittings but the 1 1/4Ē T track is Schaefer clear anodized aluminum. It is attached to my teak toerails so the eye sees the teak, not the T track.

Good point. I will take that advice as i try to convince myself not to do this. I honestly hate the idea of drilling through all that nice teak.

But really, it looks to be a cheaper plan than buying proper manufactured T track and it will look really nice as bronze and I can locate the bolt holes myself.
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Old 14-04-2021, 19:10   #12
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

Do you need a Genoa track? All the cool kids are using floating low friction rings to adjust sheet angle. You would need two hard points where the track would go, one forward to attach the twing, and another aft to lead the sheet fair to the winch.

From i-36.com:


https://forums.sailinganarchy.com/in...nd-genoa-cars/

https://www.sailmagazine.com/diy/dec...rictions-rings
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Old 14-04-2021, 19:18   #13
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

I made my bronze jib tracks on the table saw. Get some 954 bronze bar the right length. Do it in one length if you can, saves filing the joint if your milling isn't perfect. You can get metal cutting blades for the table saw, you want one for bronze or steel, not aluminum. Set up the fences and clamp some boards to keep everything snug and in line. It is a bit scary, makes a terrible racket and shoots little metal needles at you. But with the proper protective gear you will have new bronze tracks in no time at all. You will have to drill the holes of course. 954 comes cast oversize, so factor that in and you will want to either take a facing pass on the saw or just smooth it with a grinder and don't worry about hitting an exact thickness, extra on the bottom doesn't matter.
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Old 15-04-2021, 08:13   #14
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

@WoodenKetch
Thanks so much for the response!!!

You have used T track made of 954 and it stands up just fine to the abuse and pull of big sails??
How long have you had your home made bronze T track?

Many thanks.



Send photos if you have them!!!!!!
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Old 15-04-2021, 09:11   #15
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Re: Mill my own T-track? Aluminum Bronze or Silicon Bronze?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodenKetch View Post
954 comes cast oversize, so factor that in and you will want to either take a facing pass on the saw or just smooth it with a grinder and don't worry about hitting an exact thickness, extra on the bottom doesn't matter.
The price difference is considerable 1"x3/8" vs 1"x1/2" but not a deal breaker. I will need a full 3 sticks of 12' for the rails. I might do more for above and below deck.
I have not found online what extra thickness to expect with the 3/8", nor have the vendors committed to a measurement.
If you care to guess feel free.

My real concern was will the thicker (1/2") be harder (or maybe smoother) to bend to the curve of my doubleender's rails. Aft of the cockpit is pretty aggressive curve.

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